As the U.S. auto industry recovers, the big winners will be workers at suppliers, an auto researcher says.
Parts suppliers are expected to add 150,000 new jobs through 2015, the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., said last week.
In the same period, the Detroit 3 will add about 6,000 salaried jobs and about 10,000 UAW hourly jobs, said Sean McAlinden, chief economist for the center.
All UAW hires at the Detroit 3 will earn entry-level wages and benefits, about one-third less than the $28 an hour in wages earned by traditional workers, he said.
Suppliers, ravaged by the Great Recession, need to add capacity to meet rising new-vehicle demand. Sales are expected to reach 15.2 million units in the United States in 2015 from a forecasted 12.8 million in 2011, the center said.
Detroit 3 salaried workers will increase at a greater rate -- up 10 percent to roughly 71,000 -- than the roster of UAW hourly workers, up 9 percent to about 120,000, the center predicted. But salaried ranks are on senior management's radar screen for select cuts, McAlinden said.
For example, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson said last month that GM intends to cut vehicle platforms from 30 to 14 by 2018. Fewer platforms would mean fewer engineers and other salaried staffers.